For years, chatbots have been among the predominant trends in different sectors, including the product and service industry, healthcare, and many others. Now, this technology is actively entering the education sector and seems to have a huge potential there.
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What Are Chatbots?
Chatbots are programs designed to simulate conversations either in text or voice formats. The term itself is rather broad. It can comprise all types of software that lets human beings communicate with a computer, such as:
- Virtual assistants;
- Artificial conversational entities, etc.
Whatever type it is, every chatbot is there to help humans interact with a computer in real time and receive the information they need. Thus, this technology is widely used in differently-purposed dialog systems like information acquisition, customer support, and similar.
The Demand for Chatbots in Education
In 2022, it’s neither new nor rare to see chatbot technology used for marketing, sales, and customer support purposes. Still, the use of this technology in education is not as developed. However, it has a huge potential to grow because the demand for such solutions is increasing.
Why does the education sector need chatbots? According to studies, the students per teacher ratio is continuing to grow over the recent decades. With the growing saturation of students in higher ed facilities, large-scale lectures with over 100 participants and massive courses no longer sound odd but have become a common learning scenario.
Another thing worth noting is the widespread recognition of individual learning needs and interests of every student and the tendency for personalization. There is no secret that schools are now striving to create meaningful and personalized experiences for their students to help them succeed.
Keeping in mind these two points, we face the main question – how can we keep providing individualized experiences and support to students if the number of students per lecturer keeps growing? – This is nearly impossible. When there is just one lecturer per 100 students, there is no way they can give enough attention to everyone in a classroom. As a result, the level of personalization will drop significantly. Consequently, the engagement levels and effectiveness of learning will likely go down too.
Chatbot technology might be a part of the solution to this problem. Cutting-edge chatbots can give lectures, answer students’ questions, and deliver the needed information and study materials. Simply put, they can serve as reliable virtual teacher assistants. Most importantly, chatbots can work with all students without taking any breaks or resting. And they might also have the ability to adapt to every learner’s needs, thus, providing more individualized experiences.
Benefits of Using Chatbots in Education
Integrating chatbot technology into the learning process has three major benefits:
- Immediate response – When a student has a question to ask their lecturer, they rarely can get a quick response. Lecturers might be busy and unable to read and address every student’s request promptly. But a chatbot can.
- Around-the-clock support – Apart from not being able to process students’ requests quickly, lecturers are also unavailable from time to time. Namely, they will never be able to keep in touch with students at any time of day or night or during holidays and weekends. Chatbots, on the contrary, offer support 24/7.
- Reduced costs – A single chatbot can handle an unlimited number of requests at any time without compromising the quality of interactions. Ensuring the same kind of service with human resources would mean hiring a number of desk professionals. Using chatbots can eliminate this expense and cut down schools’ costs spent on personnel.
Apart from these benefits, there are many others as well. For example, if you collect the data students share with chatbots, you can also use them to understand students’ experiences, needs, and preferences better.
Top 4 Ways to Use Chatbots in Education
Though it may not be a widespread practice yet, some educational facilities are already leveraging chatbots for better learning experiences.
Here are the top four uses of this technology that are already there:
- Helping Students Make Better Choices
Whether picking a college, choosing a career path, or making any other decision, a student needs to eliminate the guesswork and rely more on the available information. Chatbots can help them make more informed choices faster and easier.
Let’s say a student is looking for a trusted academic assistant. Picking one on their own is hard. But if there was a chatbot that could give them comparisons of different paper writing services or EssayPro reviews, making the right choice would be a piece of cake. The same concept can be used for all kinds of decisions.
- Streamlining the Enrollment Process
When choosing a college and enrolling, students face a wide variety of questions. Typically, they would need to contact the colleges of their interest directly to get the answers. But chatbots can change this. This technology can help universities answer future students’ questions and provide them with all the necessary information and support to make enrollment stress-free.
- Providing Instant Support
While in college, students can face a variety of concerns and challenges every day. Often, they might need some external support to address their issues. As was mentioned earlier, chatbot technology can help educational facilities deliver the so-needed support to their students around the clock.
- Sharing Relevant Content
Chatbots can help colleges provide their students with personalized and relevant content. This can include information about every student’s assignments, deadlines, fees, exams, etc. Same way, chatbots can be used to share general information, for example, about campus events, placements, etc.
The Bottom Line
Although this technology isn’t fully adopted yet, education chatbots have the potential to make a big change in the way we teach and learn.
As you now know, this technology can significantly improve the learning process, help support students, and even help schools adjust to the growing student-teacher ratio. We can’t wait to see other smart uses of chatbots in education!